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The office dressing mistakes that make you look unprofessional

What counts as a style mistake depends on the culture of your office, but in general you should dress conservatively and follow fashion rules when you are on the clock.

What counts as a style mistake depends on the culture of your office, but in general you should dress conservatively and follow fashion rules when you are on the clock.

Professional dressing errors that you could be making

Dressing for the office is fairly straightforward, whether you are required to wear a full suit every day or can get away with jeans and a nice shirt. Simply wear variations of the same outfit every day, and you will not even need to think about how to get dressed in the morning. However, a pitfall of getting dressed mindlessly each day is that you could be making these unprofessional mistakes without even realising.

Mismatched leather

The color of your leather belt must be matched to the color of your leather shoes. Brown shoes with a black belt, or vice versa, are an office style faux pas. You can be more creative and experiment with mismatched leather when you are off the clock, but follow the conventional style rule when you are at the office.

Wearing a backpack

A bag with a handle or a strap which goes across your body are the most professional choices. A backpack is juvenile and has no place in the office. If you really must carry your bag on your back, choose a design which has backpack straps as well as a handle, so you can maintain the illusion of style before you convert your bag to a backpack for your commute.

Too many stripes

Men’s office clothing favors stripes. Stripes make a piece more interesting, but are in no way boundary pushing. As a result, you may have collected endless stripy work clothes. However, you should only wear one striped garment at a time. A striped shirt with a striped tie, regardless of whether or not they have the exact same pattern, are poor choices for the workplace.

Wrong pant length

Off-the-rack pants are rarely going to be exactly the right length for your legs. Taller guys will find that their pants ride up around the ankles when they sit down, while short guys will have excess material bunched around their calves. Mr Exactly Average may be able to get away with not having his pants tailored, but everyone else should alter their pants so they are the exact perfect length.

Mismatched socks

There are two steps to ensuring your socks are a match. Firstly, you need two of the same sock. If you stock up on endless pairs of your favorite sock, this will not be a problem. Secondly, your socks need to be matched to your suit, if you are wearing one. This is also simple: a black suit requires black socks, a navy suit requires navy socks, and so on. In a more informal work setting, you may be able to get away with wearing statement socks. Patterned socks are a fun way to express your individuality; navy socks with a grey suit are not. Much like matching the leather of your belt to the leather of your shoes, matching your socks to your suit is a rule that is made to be broken in your personal time, but should be strictly adhered to when you are in the office.


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About Natasha Abrahams Natasha Abrahams is a writer and journalism student from Melbourne, Australia. When she is not busy with being a principal writer on Weekendnotes or skipping lectures, she can be found emptying her wallet at the nearest shopping centre. You can read more from Natasha at:

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